Humans are social creatures. We enjoy relationships in all areas of life from our romantic partners, to a colleague and to friends. Connecting with others keeps us happy, fulfilled and makes us feel we have a support network if we need it.
Can running really improve your existing relationships?
Of course, it can! Running is an excellent way to improve your relationships.
Running to improve your relationships
Runners are aware they can run solo, with a partner, or in a larger group. If you’re a runner who runs with others, you might not have thought about the many benefits running has for your relationships.
An awareness of what these benefits are will make you want to run with others more often and give you a greater appreciation for running. Once you’re away of the benefits to your relationships, you’ll want to run with others more often.
What if you’re a solo runner?
Sure, we all enjoy a solo run every now and then. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, most of the runner’s training is a solo effort.
However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect group running. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with group running.
How can you start running with others more?
Parkrun is a weekly 5K held in most communities across the country. Simply log in to their website, register, and rock up at 8:45 AM Saturday morning for a 9:00 AM start. Numbers vary across the country, with some parkruns being attended by up to 400 runners a week! A fantastic opportunity to develop some relationships.
Alternatively, you could join a running club. These are groups of runners with a club identity like the ‘Maidstone Harriers’ who train together at least once a week. Sometimes, running clubs even compete alongside each other in events. Joining a running club is a great way to develop relationships with others.
If you don’t fancy either of the above, invite someone you know for a run every once in a while! Neither of you has to be Mo Farah or one of the Brownlee brothers. What matters is that you invite someone along, they turn up, and you’re then able to build a relationship through the power of running.
What are the ways running can improve relationships?
from building rapport, developing trust, motivating each other, or even using running as a talking point to engage in conversation, your relationships can be improved significantly through running.
1. Build rapport
There’s a reason business people try so hard to establish what they call “rapport.” Rapport is that feeling of closeness you get with someone when you understand each other’s feelings and ideas.
Rapport is established when you experience familiarity with someone. Once rapport is established, you are more likely to think highly of the other person and build a deeper friendship.
Think of someone you know who has the same interests as you. If you’re into rock music, your best friends are probably into rock music too. If you’re into surfing, your friends are probably into surfing too. It’s only natural we’re drawn to people like ourselves. If you’re into running, some of your friends are probably runners too!
Running with someone else means you will be sharing the same activity in the moment and will have an opportunity to develop a rapport with each other. A tighter, closer, more harmonious relationship will build. Participating in the same activity, with a shared group goal, is a powerful way to build like minded feelings of togetherness and cohesion in a group.
Running with others develops rapport, and improves your relationships.
2. Develop trust
“I can’t promise that in our relationship you won’t face any problems, but I surely can promise that you won’t face them alone.” Rose Hathway
In life, we try and pass ourselves off to be better than we are at things. We think we did well in that exam but then get a poor grade, we’re turned down for a job after being convinced of having a killer interview, you think you can cook like Jamie Oliver, but your family apologetically deliver poor reviews. It’s a fact.
Running, like all other things in life, is a sport where people are good at it or people who are not good at it. If you run in a group and you – or someone else – is clearly struggling, there is a unique opportunity to develop trust.
You are seeing each other in a vulnerable position, maybe breathing heavily up a steep hill or sweating beyond measure on a blissful summer 5k. Not comfortable scenarios people like finding themselves in.
However, seeing and helping each other out in tough times is a great way to build a unique, trusting relationship.
Running with others builds trust and is a fantastic way to improve your relationships.
3. Motivate each other
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Jung
Great relationships are not built on comfort and pleasure. No matter what anyone says.
Great relationships are built on helping each other out through adversity, hardship and problems. The seasoned runner knows training or competing in events is not always plain sailing. There are difficulties that crop up.
You get halfway on a 5-mile training run and you feel incredibly tired, or you feel like throwing in the towel on mile 20 during your first marathon. Not pleasant feelings to have, but they do occur within the runner’s mind.
A fantastic way to build great relationships is to motivate each other when you’re running. Tell the other person whose struggling that they can do it, you believe in them, or you’re almost at the end. Whatever it takes to motivate and inspire the other person, do it.
Once the training or race is over, your relationship will be stronger. It’s a fact. Motivating others whilst running is one way to improve your relationships.
4. Talking point
We find some people difficult to talk to. Not because we don’t like the other person, or they don’t like us, we just find it difficult to establish common ground with them. Running can provide an ideal talking point to get a conversation flowing.
Think of someone you find it difficult to talk to. It could be a work colleague, your father in law, your stepchild, or even the postman. More than often, you’ve tried to spark conversation with this person before, but things got awkward quickly. It’s fine, we’ve all been there. They’re interested in sports cars, you’re interested in playing the piano. It doesn’t seem like you will have much to talk about.
Inviting them for a friendly run is a great way to engage them in conversation and to build a relationship. Even if they say no to the run, they will be flattered you even asked and considered them.
Try it! Use running as a talking point for someone you want to build a relationship with.